The RSPCA has begun a new campaign to lobby government to introduce mandatory method of production labelling on meat and dairy products. The campaign is called Change Starts With The Choice.
The UK Government in England recently abandoned plans for a consultation on this issue, so the RSPCA urged the public to lobby their MP to show their support for labelling, including on processed foods and ingredients.
A new survey carried out by the RSPCA found that more than four out of five people (81%) think having a level of knowledge about the condition the animals have been reared and kept in is important when purchasing products, and 79% of people believe that they can improve animal welfare through their purchasing habits.
The survey also revealed that 61% of the UK population would only buy higher welfare options if there was clearer labelling on products.
David Bowles, the RSPCA’s head of public affairs, said: “Currently there is little information available to consumers to show them how farm animals have been reared.
Currently, method of production labelling is only available on shell eggs with terms such as ‘free-range’, ‘barn’ or ‘caged hens’ now becoming important indicators for consumers on which eggs to buy. Since this was introduced in 2004, there has been an increase in sales of cage-free eggs from around 30% up to 60% of products sold.
Bowles added: “Consumer buying behaviour with eggs proves that, given the choice, the public want to purchase higher welfare food. It is therefore long overdue that labelling is extended to all animal products.”